Kentucky football started building a pipeline to Oak Park with the signing of 2018 4-star recruit Marquan McCall, the No. 3-ranked player in Michigan at the time.
On Monday, the Wildcats picked up another blue-chip prospect from Oak Park.
Offensive lineman Justin Rogers (6-foot-2, 311 pounds), a 4-star recruit in the 2020 cycle, made a verbal commitment to Kentucky during a ceremony at his school. He’s the top-ranked player in Michigan and No. 1 offensive guard in the nation, per the 247Sports Composite.
Though it’s not a shock Rogers picked Kentucky — the school offered him as an eighth grader and was considered the favorite by 247Sports — his top colleges included perennial powers Michigan, Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee.
Despite his potential as an offensive guard, there have been reports Rogers could switch positions in college, possibly to the interior defensive line. He was a two-way player at Oak Park last season, also excelling at linebacker.
For the second straight recruiting cycle, the state’s top player appears to be leaving Michigan. East Kentwood offensive lineman Logan Brown, ranked No. 1 in 2019 by the 247Sports Composite, signed with Wisconsin.
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Some recruiting analysts believe Rogers could be a candidate to flip before December’s early signing period.
Former Oak Park quarterback Dwan Mathis, a highly recruited 2019 prospect, verbally committed to Michigan State, then flipped to Ohio State, then signed with Georgia.
Rogers made numerous unofficial visits to Ann Arbor in recent months, and reportedly has developed a good relationship with new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.
“I got the sense early that he wanted to play in the SEC,” said Steve Lorenz, a recruiting analyst for 247Sports. “Until a month or two ago, everybody thought he was going to Georgia. From my perspective, the SEC has always been in the back of his mind.
“I think those other SEC schools will stay involved (with Rogers’ recruitment). The question from my end is, will Michigan keep going with him? I figure they will.”